29.6.13

Pretty Gaming


My Nintendo DS Lite spent a year gathering dust under my desk. However, I have brought it back out again as in these days when I find relaxing almost impossible (the joys of self-employment), I greatly need some distraction from reality in order to wind down and shut off. Working from home has many advantages but the greatest drawback for me is that I find it tremendously difficult to stop working.

I cannot think of a better way to release my mind and hands from work than loosing myself in a fantasy world that has nothing in common with my day to day life.

That said.................

Here I am admiring my newly made work!

I made a little case to house my DS Lite and a selection of games. I wanted something cute but practical that would be suitable for travelling with and provide general protection too and so I drew up this pattern:










I don't think this is too bad for my 1st attempt. I really like the design and cosy security it provides for my DS. 



I don't think many people still play with DS Lite these days so I won't make any for the shop (unless requested of course). However, this pattern may lend itself well for a compact camera case! See....There I go thinking of work again :)



View Post

28.6.13

| Everyday People | They Got That Vibe















Sterile cities with glass concrete structures filled with the suited and booted with minds loaded with materialistic hunger is never the kind of place that appeals to me.

I was proper happy to find myself being dispatched to Mumbai for work a little while ago. Despite a tight schedule, I managed to claim a couple of hours to myself, my camera and the crazy crazy streets of Mumbai.

Mumbai is mad place. A magical place that straddles mayhem and chilled-outness in a mad bag of tricks. Its streets are insanely busy with traffic piled up for miles and miles (I was told by a taxi driver that during the evening rush hour, the traffic can be slower than 1 mile an hour!), rubbish scattered and growing everywhere, so many stray dogs that the mind boggles and the noise! The noise is unrelenting! Yet somehow, the people are so chilled out. I know a thing or two about living in large cities, I was born and bred in Tokyo and live in London yet none of these places have the mysterious vibe that hangs over Mumbai. I realized that this “vibe” comes from the citizens of Mumbai, who seem to take everything in their stride, the madness, the mayhem, the dirt, the noise, come what may, they can deal with it with a smile and a philosophical acceptance. 

Thanks for reading.
Hiro

View Post

26.6.13

Inescapable Indulgences

Here are a couple indulgences that I am quite devoted to these days.

Posh fancy French Teas. Since working from home, I drink a lot more tea and have done a great job of working my way through a large collection/hoard of the stuff. Despite myself,I have admittedly developed a bit of a coffee lately. Nevertheless this will never threaten my love for tea and my slimmer wallet doesn't seem to stop my extravagant tea purchases either. We all have our indulgences and this is my immovable love, a canister of tea every couple of months is acceptable...I think?!

\\ Mariage Frères Paris - Ginza



Paris - Ginza is a black tea blend with notes of red fruit and caramel inspired by the establishment of Mariage Frères flagship boutique in Japan.



In my opinion, this is an elegant blend and masterful combination of flavours. The caramel is gentle and provides a creamy entrance before the livelier fresher strawberry notes. A delicious afternoon tea.




How to prepare Paris - Ginza: 

Measure out 2,5 g of tea for 20 cl of pure, filtered water 

Bring the water to a simmer (about 95° C) and let the tea infuse for 5 minutes 





My tea cup is from Reiko Kaneko, I have had it for a while now and i am pleased that the gold plating remains perfect.

My newest indulgence/necessity is hand cream. I collect them such that I am never without them. Each and every room has one, as does each bag. My job is such that my hands need to be spotless and so I am continually washing my hands before working cloth, metal, clay etc.

\\ L'Occitane Hand Creams



Thanks to a lovely sales assistant at the Islington branch of L'Occitane, I was able to get all 3 of my favourite scented hand creams in one pack in the sales.




Links: | Reiko Kaneko | Mariage Frères | L'Occitane |

View Post

25.6.13

Improvised yum!

Hiro's culinary skills are top-notch if you ask me (I never stop congratulating myself on having a husband that can cook). He also has the added ability of being to knock something up with improbable,  things found in a near empty fridge. Here are few resourcefully made dishes that I have enjoyed recently:


Ebi to hakusai ramen.



Natto Okra don


Marmite fried rice.

All super yum!! Have you made any improvised meals lately?


View Post

21.6.13

| Pending Demolition | Robin Hood Gardens Estate




The Robin Hood Gardens Estate has been ruffling feathers and causing frowns in the world of architecture. This grimy imposing concrete monstrosity/beauty was built  in the 60's by the husband and wife architect team the Smithsons to provide social housing with all the misguided/brilliant intentions of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation. The result is this example of Brutalist architecture now rubber-stamped for demolition.




































There are those that want to save the estate and preserve it as a historical landmark. Starchitects like Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid would like to see the building saved. On the flip-side of the debate are the residents who actually live here, 75% of which support the demolition. 

Hiro is a fan of Brutalist architecture. He is also completely, peculiarly infatuated with high-rise council estates and is well on his way to becoming a bit of an expert in this curious field.  This is why we spent Sunday mooching a housing estate. It is easy for him to see some beauty and wonderment here.

Hiro's opinion; "I totally understand and agree that residents should have a say in the outcome of the estate but it is important to preserve beautiful architecture. I feel a rennovation project which retained the external appearence of the building would have been a better option, even though it would be much cheaper to knock it down and start afresh"

For me, this is a bruck-down, grimy block that is stuck by a big stinking road that makes it quite depressing and I am sure that many of the residents will be really pleased to be offered new homes. At the same time, the Barbican Estate, shares the same Brutalist council housing roots as this and look how that turned out. Knocking Robin Hood Gardens down and building swanky apartments will just make it a dumb-ass, soulless block by a big stinking road and even more depressing and I think we SHOULD protect our Brutalist buildings. 


View Post

20.6.13

Black Sands and Memories Nearly Forgotten






I am a HUGE fan of Future Primitive Soaps! 

I love the less common, imaginative blends that Tiggy comes up with. If ever you are in any doubt about how creative a person can get with soap, look no further! Your search has ended.

I recently bought a couple of scrubs, it is summer after all and one must shed lacklustre old winter skin. Among the pair was Black Sands.

I admit I have not been very kind about patchouli scented items in the past. I may have called such things the "essence of hippy" or other silly things. However, here I am happy smelling like a hippy and loving every bit of it because I have learned that patchouli has to be treated right and it will smell beautiful.

Future Primitive's Black Sands Sugar Buff is described as:

The purest, darkest Black Patchouli oil. 
An essence to completely wash away all negativity & stress, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed

For me, it is the smell of my last holiday with my mum. We went to Mombasa and stayed in a little cottage for a month or so. I had the habit of discarding my soggy beach towel on a pile of drying coconut leaves where it would dry in the glowering sun and absorb the scent of the slightly musky, earthy leaves and mingle with the wispy salty air, perhaps a bit of rain and the remains of my body cream. By morning I had a curious smelling towel.

Mum would get upset and scold me me for my lackadaisical ways and I would sniff my towel and smile.

I had nearly forgotten this memory till I showered with my put of Black Sands. I may have to get another!

| Future Primitive Soaps | 

View Post

19.6.13

Sweet Stationery


I was the fortunate recipient of some really pretty stationery items from Japan today. A cherish-able assortment of stickers, mini envelopes and tags that I cannot wait to unleash on unsuspecting shoppers at my little shop! Watch out for Fushigi's Fukubukuro 
HERE




Stickers



2 Envelopes and another sticker

>>>> UPDATE



After uploading this blog post, I have had a lot of requests from people wishing to purchase some of the crafty items. I have decided to put together a few mini Fushigi Shop Fukubukuro for those who are interested!

View Post

17.6.13

In Which I Met Princess Etoinette

I met Princess Etoinette at my post box, I dutifully invited her into my humble abode where I have been swooning over her for a few weeks now. Eventually, I managed to make myself use it.....



This cutesy and adorable plastic clad lipstick is made by the Korean cosmetics brand Etude House. I received the Etude House Etoinette Crystal Shine Lips in shade POR202 to try which is a very pretty peach pink shade.



The lipstick is scented with a light rosy fragrance/stink that is bearable as it dissipates soon after application. 



This is an interesting lipstick. It seems to be creamy with a bit of extra fine smooth shimmer, sheerness and glossiness to it all at the same time which makes it comparable to the Lavshuca Melting Rouge Bar. However, it is not quite as moisturising or pigmented.



Funny enough, I haven't a colour like this in my current collection. Initially, I thought it would be close to NARS Barbarella but it is cooler and pinkier.


| Etude House |

\\ This item was sent to me to try for review purposes \\

View Post

14.6.13

Funky Father's Gifts


I don't get to buy Father's Day gifts because my father is all the way in the middle of no-where and thanks to a wicked step-ma, he doesn't speak to me.  Perhaps then it is understandable that the only envy that I ever feel is Dad envy. I love dads that love their families and work hard to keep everyone happy and safe. Thanks to Hiro I have a wonderful Father-in-law who I love and respect dearly but he too is a gazillion miles away. 

Now, if I did have a dad that I was going to spend this coming Sunday with, I would probably get him one of these:

\\ Sugru


Very useful air-curing, hand -formable rubber compound that can be used to fix, adapt and improve everyday stuff.  Bonds to most things and turns into a strong, waterproof, flexible silicone rubber overnight.

| Available at TwentyTwentyOne |


\\ Prospector Co Tester Vials Kit


A handy little kit if testers in near packaging inside a metal hinged tin with information pamphlet.

K.C. Atwood Aftershave Splash, 7.2ml
Peary & Henson Aftershave Splash, 7.2ml
Burroughs Beard Oil, 3.6ml
Miss Annie Jones Shaving Oil, 3.6ml

| Available from Fable + Folly |

\\ Red Round Tool Bag


Purpose made for carrying hand tools, it can equally well be used to transport a Thermos Flask, and also fits snugly across the handlebars of a bicycle.

| Available from Labour and Wait | 

\\ Airam Flask


Vacuum flasks designed for living in the super cold and keep a boiling fluid above 50C for at least 24 hours. Tried and tested, the best on the market and made in Finland.

| Available from Harrop + Penny |

\\ Kaweco Sport Fountain Pen


Classic pocket pen made of high quality lightweight plastic with a gold plated stainless steel nib.

| Available from Choosing Keeping |


\\ Leather Fly Swat


Made in Germany of thick leather and a beech shaft.


| Available from Objects of Use |


Happy Father's Day all you good dads!
View Post

13.6.13

Curry in The Place Under The Stairs

Whilst dossing about in Shinyurigaoka (a lovely little place in the suburbs of Tokyo), we had a late lunch in a curious tiny little curry shop beneath a flight of stairs outside the train station, and opposite McDonalds. Despite it's less than glamorous location, we have long wished to sample its increasingly famous curry but always seemed in a rush or too late to pop in. 



Japanese curry is one of my favourite comfort foods. I relish bowlfuls and bowlfuls of it in the winter. Different from Indian curry, it is thicker, sweeter, milder, made with less spices and more fruit. Apparently, curry came to Japan via the British (no surprises there) and has become so popular that it is certainly one of Japan's national dishes.




The beef curry was delicious. Unexpectedly stew-like but still a very good curry. Deep, rich and flavoursome with a complex fruity flirtiness that really makes the dish come alive in the mouth. The owner makes the curry off-site to a secret recipe and then brings a pot-ful into the shop each day (sometimes a couple of times a day). 




There is only space for 4 people inside and there are a couple of tables just outside.  Curry & Herb Cherry Blossom may look like a tatty little place but is one of those places that rewards the curious.  The owner is quite a character and the place itself has a charm of its own. 



It is said that he/she who makes a wish and crouches through the little side door will have the wish granted. You will notice that a covering of mini instax photos across the walls of Curry & Herb Cherry Blossom, these are the smiling faces of those that have their wish fulfilled.



As for me....I am still waiting!


View Post